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When Quinn and I have to go shopping for processed foods the cheapest place to go, hands down, is Pali.
Pali is a super market that is actually owned by Walmart and although it’s only 1/20 the size of Walmart, we always manage to find everything that we need. Below is a typical grocery list of the items that we purchase when shopping:
1. We buy a lot of Spaghetti or linguini which is sold for 6 cordobas ($0.26). We compliment our pasta with a variety of vegetables that we buy at the market and a packet of sauce which costs 8 cordobas ($0.35).
2. We usually always grab a large bag of cornflakes for breakfast or a quick snack in the middle of the day. The bags have more cereal then the boxes and are much cheaper costing $1.18. We also occasionally get oatmeal for breakfast as it’s a great way to fill up in the morning. A whole bag only costs 10 cords ($0.43) and lasts us 4 days or so.
3. To go along with our cereal and oatmeal we of course grab milk, which is unlike anything I have ever seen. It is sold at room temperature off of the shelf in either a cardboard box or a plastic bag. It is about $1 per box and tastes great. Once we bring the milk home we immediately put it in the fridge.
4. Quinn’s favorite thing to get at Pali for lunch is, of course, their soups. Like the milk, the soup is packaged differently than what you see in the states. There are several varieties of soup on the shelves of Pali–from chicken noodle soup to cream of asparagus. We always get chicken noodle, which comes in a small yellow bag. The bag consists of the chicken seasoning for the broth along with small noodles and veggies, which you mix into hot water when preparing. Luckily, this lunch only cost 5 cords ($0.21) per bag and makes for a very large bowl of soup perfect for two people.
5. Our favorite drink besides Tona is Tang. There are several flavors of Tang: Original Orange, Mandarin, Jamaica Rose (we still don’t quite know what this means), Pineapple, Lemon Lime, Strawberry, and more. We’ve tried only the ones listed and we think the best ones are Orange, Strawberry, and Lemon Lime (tastes just like lemonade!). We only get the brand named Tang pouches if they’re on sale, but if they aren’t we usually always get the generic brand pouches which are only 3 cords ($0.13). They last a while as half of the pouch is the perfect amount for a 1.5 liter water bottle.
6. Pali is also the best location to purchase meat. Chicken sells for about $1 per pound. We have also purchased a package of hot dogs for 16 cordobas ($0.67). To go with the meat, pasta, soup and everything else–we always get our favorite hot sauce. This hot sauce is surprisingly spicy as most nicaraguan dishes aren’t particularly spicy. We both love it extra hot, so this bottle is a staple on our shopping list and only costs 12 cords ($0.50).
7. Every time we visit we grab a small ice cold bag of chocolate milk or juice for the walk back. Each bag is between $0.08 and $0.11. It provides us with a nice portion of energy before our walk back which is approximately a mile away.
The total cost for all of the food that we buy from Pali is always under $8 and lasts us about a week or so.
Pali is the place we go to get the majority of our food. The items we do not purchase at Pali are fish, fruits, veggies and liquor due to it being much more affordable at markets that specialize in these items throughout town.
If you have any questions on how much other food/household items cost at Pali or anywhere in Nicaragua, please feel free to ask. We’ll find out for you!